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Youth Engagement in Economy Underscored

Youth Engagement in Economy UnderscoredYouth Engagement in Economy Underscored

A recent regulation introduced by the Supreme Administrative Council prohibits the promotion of employees with more than 25 years of experience or those over 55 years to management posts.

The new amendment has also lowered the bar for minimum experience required for executive, lower-, middle- and top-level management positions to two-thirds of their current level that stands at 3,4,6 and 10 years respectively.

The move is part of a broader government policy to lower the average age of managers in the government’s executive bodies and increase women’s participation in management positions in the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan (2017-22).

In an interview with the Persian monthly Ayandeh-Negar, prominent Iranian economist Hossein Raghfar said youth engagement in decision-making is a sure way out of problems facing the country.

Excerpts of the interview follow:

Iran’s economy needs young executives in all sectors, thanks to the qualities they possess. First, they are better risk-takers than experienced, older adults.

Officials in our country are conservative to a fault, which is in part to blame on our educational system that does not nurture problem-solvers and only trains command-takers who sit on their hands and wait for a mandate to be issued from above.

Hardened executives don’t dare to make momentous, critical decisions. We are particularly bearing witness to a diehard conservatism like no other in recent years.

Everyone acknowledges the severity of challenges we are facing today like water crisis, but no measure has been taken to tackle the problem not only by the government, but also the legislature and judiciary.

On the other hand, seasoned executives are usually uncompromising and obstinate, not wanting to change an established procedure. They ride roughshod over public opinion, whereas young adults have yet to reach this intransigence.

There are about 4.3 million university students in Iran, which means one million graduates a year. The top 5% of this population i.e. 50,000 are elites who unfortunately move overseas. They could be employed by the decision-making body of the country.

Their learning, innovation and creativity capabilities are overlooked and that’s no less than a crime against the nation. No one cares about the country getting devoid of talent and innovation.

How could you expect any sign of improvement under the circumstances?  I believe brain drain has long been one of the crises, but no one cares to work out a radical solution.

Youths of this country prefer to migrate when they can’t find jobs. This comes despite their faith in the values of our country.

Only a select group of insiders can find a place in the decision-making apparatus of the country and that has given rise to an unqualified system that cannot solve the country’s problems.

Youth engagement in decision-making is definitely a way out, but unfortunately authorities do not believe so.

Take the example of French President Emmanuel Macron who is 39 years old. An Iranian 39-year old won’t be even picked to serve as a director general, unless he is related to people in high places.

Iranian youths are qualified enough to become efficient executives. Their political, social and cultural knowledge, as well as their technical know-how, is startling.

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